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Hochul blasted for pre-Thanksgiving bill-signing

Nov 29, 2021 6:00 am

Chris Bragg is reporting for the Times Union Gov. Kathy Hochul November 24, issued a press release stating she was signing a bill amending New York’s legislative redistricting process. Republicans and Conservatives cited the bill signing as an example of Hochul favoring a Democratic takeover of the redistricting process. Conservatives immediately responded, with U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor in 2022, saying that, "despite the people of New York voting a resounding 'no' earlier this month on a constitutional amendment, which would have allowed legislative majorities to redistrict, Kathy Hochul circumvented New York voters by signing into law legislation to do just that.” However, Jeffrey M. Wice, a redistricting expert and adjunct professor at New York Law School, said the change simply clarifies a 2014 constitutional amendment that was passed by voters, and which is governing a brand new redistricting process this year. For the first time, district lines are to be drawn by a 10-member, bipartisan commission, and not necessarily by the majority parties in the state Legislature. But the 2014 constitutional amendment, Wice said, was unclear about what would happen if the 10 members gridlocked, and failed to take any vote on proposed lines. The 10-person commission now faces a January deadline to come to a consensus on a proposed plan, an outcome that's far from certain. In her message announcing the new law, Hochul wrote that the Democrat-sponsored bill served to clarify an oversight in the 2014 constitutional amendment. But if the commission deadlocks and cannot get at least seven votes in favor of a plan, line-drawing would fall to state lawmakers. For the first time in decades, Democrats control both houses of the Legislature, as well as the governor’s office. As a result, lines drawn by a Democratic Legislature could further imperil the Republican Party in New York. Read more in the Times Union.

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